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FBI Building Becomes the Target of POTUS

 

The FBI and the President of the United States (POTUS) are squaring off again for what appears to be another battle royale! No, this time it is not about Russian collusion, James Comey or the dozens of other political battles that rage between POTUS and the FBI. This battle is about the existence of the current FBI HQ in Washington, DC. Will it continue to stand or will it be relocated to the suburbs? That is the question that has lit a fire between the two opponents.

From 1908 until 1975, the FBI was located in the Department of Justice (DOJ) building in Washington, DC. This was an ideal arrangement, as the DOJ is a parent organization to the FBI and makes perfect logistical sense. Due to the growth of the FBI and the expanding role of the organization in the long term, a decision was made to house the FBI in a separate building away from the DOJ. This also met higher level security requirements for the safety and appearance of an independent investigative agency. A formal request for the project was approved in 1941, but was delayed due to the onset of WWII. The second request was made in 1962 for the new construction, which was approved. In October of 1967, the National Capital Planning Commission approved the project with 2,800,876 sq. feet of space for a planned 7,090 employees. The building had to meet height limits on one side of seven stories and 11 stories on the other, complying with the current DC code requirements. Construction started in December of 1967 and finished in May 1975. The building was officially named the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in May 1972 by President Nixon, two days after Hoover’s death.  President Ford officially dedicated the building in September of 1975.

This historic building is now showing its age, and there is a movement afoot by POTUS to raze the structure. This is where the battle begins. POTUS has submitted a plan to destroy the building and construct a new facility on the existing grounds. He believes it to be the “ugliest of all ugly buildings” in DC and needs to go. The second plan submitted by Government Accounting Office (GAO) is to tear down the building and construct a new HQ building in the Virginia suburbs, where their current training academy is located. Detractors of POTUS say that he is trying to control what is built on the existing property when the FBI leaves. It just happens to be across the street from the Trump Hotel. They claim POTUS wants total control to prevent any competitor’s building near his property. The detractors of the GAO plan state that the Virginia move is significantly more expensive, and the fact that two Democratic Senators from Virginia are leading the effort makes it an immediate dead issue.

As the political battle rages between the FBI, POTUS, the GAO and Congress, the real focus is diminished. The real issue is that the current J. Edgar Hoover FBI HQ is a historical landmark. We should be debating a functional and respectful design that is befitting the status of all other landmarks of our nation’s capital.

From the Factory Floor

Fixture arrived safely in Utah!! Great collaboration with M. Elle Design and Forest Studio.

 by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

washington dc, architecture

Washington DC Architecture Is All About Power

Washington DC was designed with one thing in mind … power!  It may not have the cultural cachet of Los Angeles or New York, but it was a city envisioned by George Washington to be what Paris is to France … a center of culture, finance, trade and power. Washington DC was founded as the heart of the federal government on 100 acres of land set aside from existing land belonging to Maryland and Virginia. This patch of damp land was transformed into an iconic capital and the seat of power for a newly founded country.

With the signing of the Residence Act of 1790, George Washington set into motion the development by appointing commissioners and planners to begin this monumental process. Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant became the man Washington entrusted to carry forth his vision of the new capital city.  

     “Washington commissions L’Enfant to design a city on an absolutely epic scale that could have easily fit a major portion of the population of London, the world’s most populous city at that time.”

~ Richard Longstreth, Architectural History Professor

Under the supervision of three commissioners, L’Enfant went to work. Washington and Jefferson had sent him a letter outlining the vision and to provide a drawing for the city plans, along with suitable sites for federal and public buildings. L’Enfant understood the vision, but in reality, had much more grandiose plans for Washington DC. On June 22, 1791, he presented his complex plan to George Washington. In August 1791, he sent the President an appended plan in a letter. Washington retained a copy of L’Enfant’s plan, presented it to Congress, then gave it to the three commissioners of the project.

In a swirl of controversy befitting Washington DC, Washington later dismissed L’Enfant from the project and engaged Andrew Ellicott to continue the project. Ellicott continued the city survey in accordance with the revised plan, several versions of which were engraved, published and distributed. As a result, Ellicott’s revisions subsequently became the basis for the capital city’s development. The city retained the vision of L’Enfant, which was a bold, modern city featuring grand boulevards and ceremonies, all inspired by his hometown of Paris, France. 

From the ADG Jobsite

Featured Brentwood home, great design collaboration with Tiffany Grayce Harris! Photo by Ryan Garvin.

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Pope Architecture Dc Design Creative Lighting Adg

Washington D.C. Architecture – Finding the Best of Pope

Washington D.C. is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Every year, millions of tourists flood our nation’s capital for the multitude of attractions that make up the city. The city’s tourist venues are also noteworthy because of their architecture. The design, function and architecture of the city is unique. One architect contributed significantly to the face and function of the city.

The History of Washington D.C.

On July 9, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River. The exact location was to be selected by President George Washington and the land was donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Two pre-existing settlements were included in the territory: the port of Georgetown, Maryland, founded in 1751, and the city of Alexandria, Virginia, founded in 1749. The new federal city was then constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of Georgetown.

Washington, D.C., is a planned city. In 1791, President George Washington commissioned Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French-born architect and city planner, to design the new capital. He enlisted Scottish surveyor Alexander Ralston to help lay out the city plan. The L’Enfant Plan featured broad streets and avenues radiating out from rectangles, providing room for open space and landscaping. He based his design on plans of cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Karlsruhe, and Milan that Thomas Jefferson had sent to him.

The Influence of John Russell Pope

The work of John Russell Pope is the best example of the classical tradition of architecture in the United States. He was responsible for the classical elegance demanded by the federal government and wealthy private citizens during the first third of the 20th century. Most of Pope’s early designs were for very large houses for influential businessmen and other prominent people. His affinity for formal design clearly shows in his Georgian, Tudor and Federal houses.

Pope’s practice grew to include churches, commercial buildings, and master plans for five colleges and universities. However, it was the monumental public buildings that truly characterized Pope’s work and on which his reputation rests. These buildings show his adherence to the classical tradition and demonstrate his belief that monumental architecture must have its roots in ancient Greece or Rome. Here are a few of the finest examples of his work in Washington D.C.:

The Jefferson Memorial – The Jefferson Memorial features circular marble steps, a portico, a circular colonnade of Ionic order columns, and a shallow dome.

National Gallery of Art’s West Building – What makes the West Building unique is its Neoclassical style. Inside the Italian Renaissance galleries, there is travertine wainscot and hand-finished plaster walls.

National Archives Building – The National Archives offers Corinthian columns and porticos in the outer structure as well as an exhibition, coffered half dome, and two large murals inside.

DAR Constitution Hall – The Neoclassical-style DAR Constitution Hall has over 3,700 seats and more than 50 boxes. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

Work of Gerald Olesker in Washington D.C. at the Holocaust Monument

 

From the Design Studio

Sketch for a Spanish revival project 

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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